Benjamin Allport, Girton

Degree: PhD
Course: ASNC
Supervisor: Dr E Rowe

Biographical Information

Ben is a second year PhD student in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, studying Scandinavian History.

Having spent a Halcyon childhood in the suburbs of Walsall and Birmingham, he first attended ASNaC for his undergraduate degree in 2009, graduating in the summer of 2012 having specialised in Scandinavian history, Irish Sea history, Medieval law and Old English (writing an undergraduate dissertation on sin and temptation in Old English Christian literature). He then spent a year, respectively, in Reykjavík and Oslo while completing a joint Nordic MA/MPhil in Viking and Medieval Norse, which he completed in the summer of 2014 having studied Old Norse, runology, Old Nordic religions, Western Scandinavian Palaeography, Early Medieval Culture and linguistic aspects of settlement in the British Isles from the Roman to Norman periods and conducted research into techniques of annual time reckoning and chonological structuring in Old Icelandic historiographical literature.

His current research focuses on regional aspects of state formation in Early Medieval Norway, under the provisional title 'The Sum of its Parts: Regional Influences in the State Formation of Norway, 900-1066'.

Research Interests

Ben's primary research interests focus on concepts of identity in Medieval Scandinavia (particularly in Norway and Iceland), which has manifested specifically in his current PhD research on the importance of regional autonomy and identity in the overall narrative of state formation in Norway in the late Viking Age, as well as in his MPhil research on time reckoning in Icelandic historiography, which revealed intriguing aspects of how Icelanders perceived and portrayed their role in world history.

Secondary (and related) interests include the interactions between Paganism and Christianity in the Viking Period, and the evolution of the former prior to the point of conversion, and comparative aspects of Old Norse and Old English hagiography, including innovations in translations from Latin and the native portrayal of the sin and temptation. He maintains a fascination with runology (particularly in the transition from the Elder to Younger Fuþark) and palaeography.

Areas of Supervision

Ben is excited to have the opportunity to begin supervising this year in Old English literature and Scandinavian history.